tv The Situation Room CNN October 23, 2012 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT
thank you very much. and thank you. here we are two weeks to go before election day. and i know now as i'm sure wolf blitzer will be watching these two events happening in nevada and ohio, mitt romney, paul ryan, the president and joe biden speaking. he'll have it for you. wolf blitzer, we'll send it to you in washington. brooke, thanks very much. happening now, the sprint to election day. the race for the white house now in its final critical phase. the candidates are crossing the nation making every moment count. we're going to hear from the obama/biden team live from ohio this hour. also, the romney/ryan team live from nevada this hour. both of these presidential candidates getting ready to speak. you'll see it. you'll hear it live. this hour in "the situation room." and are some florida voters being intimidated? details of out of state letters targeting republicans. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
fourteen days until americans pick the next president. cnn is geared up to bring you the most comprehensive coverage of these final two weeks of the campaign. our correspondents are in the most critical battleground states across the country as president obama and mitt romney try to win over those few remaining undecided voters who could very well sway this expected very, very close election. we have both of these presidential campaigns live this hour. you see joe biden, democratic vice presidential nominee. he's also the vice president of the united states. he's speaking right now in dayton, ohio. he's going to be introducing the president who's going to be
speaking right after him. and in henderson, nevada, another key battleground state, paul ryan is speaking right now getting ready to introduce mitt romney. this hour you will hear from both mitt romney and barack obama on this important day after the third and final presidential debate. let's go to nevada right now. six electoral votes are at stake there. in 2008 they went to president obama. while he holds a two-point lead in a recent poll in that state, he's statistically tied with mitt romney in nevada right now. our national political correspondent jim acosta's on the scene for us with the romney campaign. what's going on on this day after the last debate? >> reporter: well, wolf, you might be able to notice behind me that paul ryan is on stage. he's getting ready to introduce the man at the top of the ticket, mitt romney. the romney campaign believes that the gop nominee achieved his objective at last night's debate by not going after all of the president's lines of attack in that final showdown there in
boca raton, florida. wolf, the debates are over. and the real race is now on. >> hello, florida. >> reporter: bang, the final presidential debate was the starting pistol for a two-week sprint to the finish line as president obama fought to hold onto florida, mitt romney tried his luck in nevada. >> and by the way, the math in my plan adds up. >> reporter: on the campaign plane, romney's advisors were quick to brush off the president's move to unveil a new 20-page blueprint outlining his agenda for a second term. the romney campaign has already turned the gop nominee's debate to the economy. >> governor romney, wrong and reckless policies? >> i've got a policy for the future. and agenda for the future. >> reporter: into a new ad. >> i'll get us on track to a balanced budget.
>> reporter: a trio of key debate flash points lay down the lines. romney's attack on mr. obama's decision not to visit israel during his first foreign president. >> you went to the middle east and you flew to egypt and saudi arabia and turkey and iraq. and by the way, you skipped israel. >> if we're going to talk about trips that we've taken -- >> reporter: for factory workers in ohio, the flare up over romney's opposition to the auto bailout. >> iran, mr. president. >> no, i am not wrong. >> people will look it up. >> and for military voters in virginia, romney's charge that the size of the navy is at 1917 levels. >> well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed. >> reporter: it was hardly a direct hit for either candidate. as it turns out, every marine still undergoes bayonet training. and the fact checking watchdog
blame the president for the current navy fleet levels as pants on fire. now, as for the president's blueprint that he laid out earlier today talking about his second term agenda, we did talk to some senior romney advisors on the campaign plane as we were coming into nevada earlier this afternoon. and in the words of one of those romney advisors, they called that blueprint a glossy panic button. now, as for the travels of the two candidates they're going to be on this stage in a few moments from now, we are going to be hearing nevada as we just mentioned. but they are headed next to colorado and then, wolf, mitt romney heads to iowa and ohio and then virginia looks like this weekend. if you live in a swing state, he is probably coming to a town near you, wolf. >> we're going to hear governor romney and president obama live this hour in nevada and ohio. gloves certainly were off for president obama last night after being criticized for not being aggressive enough in the first presidential debate. the president has been hammering
away at mitt romney in subsequent debates and on the campaign trail including today. let's get some more now from our chief political analyst gloria borger. this new strategy -- i guess it's a new strategy after that first debate, hammer, hammer, hammer. what's up? >> well, let's state the obvious, which we all now it's a close raid e race. president obama went into that debate much the same as mitt romney went into the first debate. mitt romney in the first debate knew he was behind. going into this last debate, the president's campaign saw the polls tightening. they didn't like what they were seeing. they understood the president has an advantage when it comes to foreign policy. commander in chief has had some foreign policy successes. mitt romney not as comfortable on that terrain. so they decided to attack. and i think you'd have to say that it worked for them. what they're going after, wolf, not so much the undersided voters because there aren't many of those left, it's what one pollster described to me today
as fluctuating voters. voters who go back and forth between the candidates who may have been for obama in 2008, little diseffect ed decided they'd give romney a look. and the big thing for the romney campaign is they want mitt romney to be acceptable to those voters who are fluctuating as they put it. >> the obama campaign put out an ad sort of a summation if you will. let me play a little clip. >> here's my plan for the next four years. making education and training a national priority. building on our manufacturing boom, boosting american-made energy. reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where we can and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. and ending the war in afghanistan so we can do some nation building here at home. >> read between the lines for us, gloria? >> well, it is a book called a plan for jobs. and i think you can honestly say
i did this because voters were complaining they didn't have enough vision for the next four years. as my colleague pointed out earlier today on cnn, there isn't a lot in this that's new or that's unexpected. they talk about energy, they talk about president's health care plan. they do for example talk about education and a goal of reducing college tuition in half over the next ten years, but they don't explain exactly how the federal government will do that. but at least they tried to put it in a book and say, here's our road map. just read. sort of the same as saying it's on my website, just read it. but here it is sfwl romney may not have won the debate last night according to our instant poll, but he did achieve some important things. >> again, it's thatparticularly commander in chief. we ask whether president romney can handle the job as commander in chief. you see they're almost at parody
there, wolf, both at 60% or above. so i think what the romney people that i spoke to today felt very happy and very comfortable with that. their big job that they have left, wolf, is to capitalize on the intensity they say they're feeling of their voters out there. if they can get their voters out, and if they can make republicans enthusiastic and they've seen a building intensity since that first debate, then they think they've got a shot even in the all-important state of iowa where they maintain the polls are tied. other polls show it with obama having a lead. but the romney campaign says, you know what, we're there. we're almost there. >> we're going to hear from both of these presidential candidates. they're just beginning to speak. they're welcoming some of the guests that have come out there at these rallies. the president of the united states in ohio. governor romney in nevada. when we come back, you'll hear from both of these presidential candidates. [ male announcer ] inside the v8 taste lab.
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governor romney is speaking in nevada. president obama is speaking in ohio. president obama really, really blasting mitt romney for romnesia right now. listen in. >> -- won't give a big tax cut to the wealthy, but you're on a video promising your tax cut would include the top 1%. that sounds like a classic case of romnesia. if you say that you love american cars during a debate, you're a car guy, but you wrote an article titled "let detroit
go bankrupt," you definitely have a case of romnesia. last night governor romney looked you right in the eye -- looked me in the eye, tried to pretend that he never said let detroit go bankrupt. tried to pretend he meant the same thing i did when we intervened and worked to make sure that management and workers got together to save the u.s. auto industry. pretended like somehow i had taken his advice. but people don't forget. the people of dayton don't forget. the people of ohio don't forget. if mitt romney had been president when the auto industry was on the verge of collapse, we might not have an american auto industry today. we'd be buying cars from china instead of selling cars to
china. and you know how important that is to ohio. the auto industry supports one in eight ohio jobs. it's a source of pride to this state. it is a source of pride to our country. it's a source of pride to generations of workers. i refuse to walk away from those workers. i bet on those workers. i refuse to walk away from those jobs. i understood that americans can compete. i wasn't about to let detroit go bankrupt or toledo go bankrupt. i bet on american workers. i bet on american manufacturing. i would do it again because that bet has paid off for ohio and for america in a big way. so here's the good news, ohio, if you've come down with a case of romnesia, if you can't seem to remember the positions that you've taken not just four years ago but four days ago, if you
don't remember the positions that are on your website, if you don't remember the promises you've been making during the six years that you've been running for president, you don't have to worry because obama care covers pre-existing conditions. we can fix you up. there's a cure. there's a cure. there's a cure, but you got to vote to make sure that the medicine is there for romnesia. now, we joke about governor romney being all over the map, but it speaks to something important. it speaks of trust. there's no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust. trust matters.
you know, you want to know that the person who's applying to be your president and commander in chief is trustworthy, that he means what he says, that he's not just making stuff up depending on whether it's convenient or not. so, you know, smart people who they don't have a dog in this fight. they've crunched the numbers. and we know governor romney's jobs plan doesn't really create jobs. we know his deficit plan doesn't really reduce the deficit. his foreign policy's from the 1980s before the cold war was over. his social policy's from the 1950s. and his economic policies are from the 1920s. he knows he can't sell that even though those are his positions. so in the closing weeks of the campaign he's doing everything he can to hide his true positions and tell us what he thinks you want to hear and then spend most of his time telling
you what he thinks is wrong with america. joe biden just talked about that. talking about america's in decline. he is terrific at making presentations about stuff he thinks is wrong with america. but he sure can't give you an answer about what will make it right. and that's not leadership that you can trust. you know, ohio, you know me. you know i mean what i say. you know that i do what i say i'm going to do. you know that i'll make the tough decisions even when they're not popular. folks don't remember what we did with the auto industry. it wasn't popular when we did it. it wasn't even popular in michigan and ohio, but it was necessary. and because i have folks like joe biden with me who can support me when i make tough
decisions, we went and did what we thought was right. and i know people -- >> all right. we're going to continue to monitor the president in ohio right now. we'll take a quick break. when we come back, we'll get a very, very different side of the story. mitt romney, he is really going after the president right now. mitt romney in nevada right after this. ♪
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republican presidential nominee mitt romney has been speaking in henderson, nevada, outside of las vegas. and he spoke extensively about what happened last night. >> now, my guess is you had the chance to watch that debate last night, maybe a couple debates. yeah. and these debates have supercharged our campaign. there's no question about it we're seeing more and more enthusiasm, more and more support. we're going to make sure that these campaigns that the message of these debates, rather, that these messages keep going across the country. i had to look at the president's campaign as well through the eyes of those debates. well, you know, he's been reduced to try to defend characters on sesame street and word games of various kinds. and then misfired attacks after one another. the truth is that attacks on me
are not an agenda. we've gone through four debates now -- we've gone through four debates -- his idea of growing the economy is raising taxes. does anyone think raising taxes creates more jobs? look, his vision for the future is a repeat of the past. we don't want to go into the past. our plan has five key steps that will get this economy going because we're serious about these things. we're going to finally get north american energy independence using our coal, our oil, our gas, our nuclear and our renewables. we're going to make trade work for america by making sure we open up new markets particularly in latin america. latin america we have advantages there with language and time zone and we're going to crack down on cheaters when they steal our jobs through unfair trade practices like china will crack down.
he has not. we're going to make training programs work for the people who need training and fix our schools. by the way, we can fix our schools because we don't get the largest share of our campaign contributions to the teachers unions. he does. as a matter of fact, we get none of our campaign contributions from the teachers unions. we're going to do something to fix our schools that needs to be done across the country. and that is we're putting our kids first and the parents first and the teachers first and the teachers unions going behind. and number five, number five is this, we're going to champion small business. we want small business to grow and thrive and to add more jobs. we want to help small business people with lower taxes and regulators that see themselves as being on the same team as
opposed to being in that position to small business. we're going to help small business grow and thrive in this country. i understand small business. i didn't read about small business. i didn't study small business. i lived small business. and i'm going to help small business grow. look, his is a status quo candidacy. his is a message of going forward with the same policies of the last four years. and that's why his campaign is slipping. and that's why ours is gaining so much steam. i'm convinced as paul said, we can do better. i know we can. this is not just a matter of paul and me. this is a movement across the country. people recognizing that we can do a better job as a nation than we've done over these last four years. i've seen it throughout my life. and in the heart of the american
people there's a greatness. equality of the human spirit that tells me if we tap into it, if we allow freedom to bloom as it can, you're going to see this country come back and an economy that roars to success. >> there he is, mitt romney in nevada, a key battleground state. earlier the president in ohio, another key battleground state. we're watching both of these presidential candidates in this the final two weeks of this campaign. the obama campaign's just released a new booklet detailing the president's plans for a second term. our panel has plenty of questions and some unsolicited advice when we come back. al wanted to provide better employee benefits while balancing the company's bottom line, their very first word was... [ to the tune of "lullaby and good night" ] ♪ af-lac ♪ aflac [ male announcer ] find out more at... [ duck ] aflac! [ male announcer ] ...forbusiness.com. [ yawning sound ]
and unlike mitt romney, i'm actually proud to talk about what's in it. >> one advisor called that new blueprint a glossy panic button. >> fourteen days before the election, now you're handing out fliers on your financial plan? procrastinator in chief. >> you could say the same about mitt romney. neither man wants to commit to too many details at this point. >> last night listening to mitt romney was like listening to a candidate who was running on cliff notes or who had rosetta stone foreign policy. >> let's get straight to our own kate bolduan and some unsolicited advice from our panel. kate. >> i'll offer any time even if you don't ask. thank you, wolf. hey, guys. so you heard that great kind of snapshot right there. the president saying he's now laid out his plan for a second term. so, van, we're two weeks out. he's laying out his plan or highlighting his plan for a second term agenda. it's a little light on the details, many would say. what's the point now? >> well, i think he's taking my
advice because we were on unsolicited advice before and i said he should just enumerate his plan. and so here we are. actually, i think what's amazing is he has had a plan. in fact, with his jobs proposal which was stopped by congress repeatedly, that was a clear plan. he was out on the stump for a year with a clear plan. i think it's opportunity for him to remind people. he's not introducing anything new. he's reminding people. i hope what the public picks up on is wait a minute, this sounds familiar. oh, he was fighting for this all the past two years and the republicans stopped him. even stuff like republicans should have supported him on, tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for 98% of americans, bringing our troops home to rebuild america. all of that stuff should sound familiar because he's been saying it the whole time. >> van, you've got to admit though. you're a wonky guy. maybe you're not a political in the weeds, but honestly, if you're putting out a plan two weeks before the election, doesn't that suggest -- doesn't that suggest what you've been saying so far hasn't been working? doesn't it suggest that what i've been doing so far maybe got
us out of the hole, but i'm going to do more of it just wasn't working well enough? >> or are you in a little bit of trouble if voters don't know this plan already? >> i think what this suggests, i've heard a lot of complaints from voters, i myself complain about this, lack of big vision from both candidates. we've been in a very small campaign. take a look, we have spent more time discussing children toys, first etch-a-sketch and now battleship than we have been articulating a great big optimistic vision for america in the next four years. i think they heard that. and that's kind of what they're trying to do is short on details but high on gloss. >> look, we're past the three debates, right? both candidates have been out there talking about what it is they want to do at some level for the past year and a half. we're now past the three debates. we're in the home stretch. what the president did today was kind of take everything he's been saying, put it together in one package and say, here it is. what the president needs to do also which i think he's started
to do is also say here's what happens if i'm elected. and here's what happens if mitt romney's elected. he says he's got a plan. he may be running away from it, but let me tell you exactly what his plan means to you. that contrast is what really is going to matter in this home stretch. >> doesn't that get at the crux of the argument right now? finally in the last two weeks president obama what he has been running against mitt romney essentially. he hasn't been running for a second term of president obama. we just saw two cut aways of the two campaign events just now. you had mitt romney saying here's my five-point plan and then cut aways of president obama saying mitt romney's a really bad guy. >> let me ask you this, margaret, romney campaign advisors called this blueprint put out called the booklet a glossy panic button. but jessica yellin in the snapshot right off the top made a great point. you could say kind of same thing about the romney tax reform plan. that it is also quite light on specifics. and he's been criticized on. >> this is 20 pages and mitt
romney's plan is 150. >> not sure it's a better thing. >> but it's principles. you do have principles. you can do sort of the math as an add-up and that's totally fair and legitimate. we're going to see how they'll make the numbers work. kind of a 227-page health care plan before you know what's in it. >> this is political marketing 101. >> uh-huh. >> take a look at this plan, you can show some of the pages, it's long on pictures, short on detail. it doesn't matter. it's for the purposes of having a prop to hold up on stage and say i've got a plan. now feel better americans. >> let me say two things. you're right that he has not done a great job of making sure people understand what his plan is. >> like summing it up. >> part of that is because what his job is. he both has to continue to make the point about what he wants to do, but he does have to take down mitt romney. and part of it is mitt romney's plan though he has a plan has
been literally laughed at by economis economists. literally a two minus two equals four plan. and the president has a double burden here. he's got to be able to knock that down. i think at this point people that believe mitt romney's plan is not a good plan need to hear what the president wants to do more clearly. so that's what he's doing. from my point of view if you look at where the president is right now, he had a bad stumble with that first debate. look at his reforms the last two debates. you see his base now rallying back to him. and over the next two weeks you will see him holding that plan up. what is the plan? and i think that's the conversation he wants to have. >> unfortunately for -- >> hey, listen, he had the etch-a-sketch as the prop for the other guy. a plan for a prop for himself. >> unfortunately, for the president the debate that mattered the most is the first. we didn't see the second debate have anywhere near the same effect. we're yet to see what the third debate has done. >> in terms of the plan that's
out there, you've worked closely and intimately in a presidential campaign, is there a hesitance especially this late in the game to get into specifics? because you don't want to rock the boat or mess it up? >> no. in fact i argue in a race like this this is exactly the time you want to get into specifics. we're down to the home stretch. we've got a very small group of undecided voters. you want to do two things. you want to mobilize your base by drawing the contrast between you and your opponent and talk to the differences between you and your opponent. what's striking me is mitt romney is running away from the plan he's been talking about for the past year and a half. and that's what the president really cannot let up on. he's got to hold his feet to the fire. it's not that mitt romney is a flip-flopper. that's part of it. the problem with mitt romney is that his plan doesn't add up and will have devastating consequences on the middle class. >> go ahead, margaret. >> the question now as a messaging expert, if you get into detail in the last two
weeks after you've already made your closing arguments to the american people, how much is going to resonate? all the ad time bought up on the air, super pacs taking up all the messaging, how much of the details nuance specifics of an economic plan are going to get through. >> have you looked at this brochure? what details are we talking about here? there's one of everything, okay, woman. latino, african-american. >> there's two copies at the table. hold on a second, van. you guys take a moment. >> i have seen more detail in a skin care infomercial. >> on that note, we're going to talk -- we're going to read through this a little bit more and talk about what ana just said. and next our panel is going to give some unsolicited advice to some very unsuspecting targets. we'll be right back. plus prese. i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have a decongestant. no way.
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welcome back to "the situation room" and unsolicited advice. it's time for our panel to give their unsolicited advice. margaret, start with you. >> the news the last few days in the cycling world, mine is for lance armstrong. it's time to come clean. no pun intended. really. what this guy has to do, he was a hero to so many people. he brought a generation of athletes into a new sport in the united states. the best thing you can do is fess up, come clean, say what you did and say you're sorry. because it's the first step towards redemption and people know you did it. >> redemption might be tough on this one. it's been quite a -- >> it's a long path to redemption, but you start by saying what you did. >> good luck getting the money back. i think that would be redeeming.
short of that, he could take that and go to a desert island somewhere, buy one maybe. >> it is heartbreaking. i had my yellow band and it sort of -- it was such an inspirational story of somebody overcoming something. it's just really sad. i actually do feel sorry not only for him but also the young people he inspired. >> i feel sorry for the organization. >> exactly. >> despite the recent developments, we have to remember he did do a lot of good for that organization. >> and the organization can still do good, which i think people should remember. >> and he's still a famous name. he can do good. we're going to -- americans are very forgiving people. and i think if he spends some time now in his life doing good, continuing to do good in charity -- >> eventually. >> -- eventually. >> we have a short memory in tv. that's for sure. go ahead. >> my advice is for independent voters who are science fiction fans.
okay. this could swing the election. so think about who mitt romney is. in every scene he's different. in one scene he says afghanistan, we shouldn't get out, then we should. on syria, we should have ground troops, we shouldn't. he's a shape shifter. and no science fiction movie is the shape shifter the good guy. you don't want the shape shifter to take over the ship. fear romney. that's all i got to say. >> you obviously watch "true blood." >> i said movie. i've done my research. >> also by hbo. part of our parent company. >> all my fellow geeks, fear romney. no shape shifters in the white house. >> there's a lot of microtargeting going on in ohio. and i have a feeling now they're microtargeting all the sci-fi reeders directly to shape shifters. >> the problem romney is he's a shape shifter wan na be.
>> ana, please take this. >> all right. my unsolicited advice is also to undecided voters to uncommitted voters, all right, folks, we've now gone through three debates. we've seen these guys say jokes. we've seen thing sing. we've seen them talk. we've been watching them now for six years, frankly. decide. make it easy for the rest of us. let's wrap this up. get off the fence. put your finger in the wind. flip a coin. do whatever you have to do, but it's time to bring this home. >> a lot of people don't believe that there are really undecideds out there, that people just aren't telling which way they're going. >> i've actually met a few in the last few days. i thought they were like big foot. some sort of mythical figure that existed only somewhere in the imagination. but there's actually evidence of them. i've met some and even friends with a couple it turns out. >> they will be very important come two weeks from now. mo. >> voters are getting a lot of unsolicited advice here today. >> shocking. >> my advice to voters is pay attention below the presidential
line on your ballot. there are a lot of important senate and house races this election. congress is completely paralyzed by gridlock. its got 14% approval rating, moderates are fleeing the chamber. this matters. this matters. and it's easy for voters to just kind of throw up their hands and stare down at their belly buttons and say i give up. but don't. you can fix it. you can actually vote for people that will work towards common ground and reject those that are hyperpartisans. it's not just about the balance of power. it's actually about balance in politics. >> so you're saying vote the person, not the party. split your ticket. >> vote for the people willing to come together. >> he's saying vote for my client. approved by mo. >> i didn't mention names. >> i do think the president may have missed some opportunities. you're saying why haven't you gotten more done, to actually run more fully against the congress and say in both parties vote for people who want to cooperate with each other. not saying that just makes him
look like he's a failure when in fact he's a victim of a dynamic he hasn't tried to change directly. >> you've got to stop running against something and run for something at some point. >> he has his prop ready to go. we just need some more props. >> how about you? >> i knew you were going to ask. today i will offer my unsolicited advice. my advice is to both campaigns. congratulations. you have fabulous writers coming up with creative catch phrases to the latest of romnesia. i think at this point two weeks out, time to put the catch phrases away and the zingers and one-liners and really talk to voters because i don't think the election's going to turn on those fancy words. >> i like it. >> i like it. here's the deal, i think they should stop telling the jokes. but if it turns out that your economic five-point plan is a joke, you should get rid of it. the people laughing the most are the economists laughing at romney -- >> or, people might be -- >> you've heard me say --
>> esteemed economist from the university of columbia. >> i think people are laughing that we were talking about sci-fi and the market in ohio. on that note, we will end our unsolicited advice today. wolf, if i need to remind you of anything, we're two weeks out. >> you're having way too much fun over there. >> way too much. >> some florida republicans are getting official looking letters questioning whether they're legally allowed to vote. the problem is the letters aren't coming from any one official. [ ross ] we are in the dades gorge,
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votes. president obama won there in 2008. recent polls show however it's a dead heat. and in a suspicious new development, some florida voters are getting letters mailed from out of state questioning whether they're legally eligible to vote. cnn crime and justice correspondent joe johns is here in "the situation room." joe has been looking into this. what are you finding out? >> well, wolf, florida of course is just a crucial battleground state in this election. and now there's a new issue. united states postal inspectors confirmed to cnn that they have opened a preliminary investigation into bogus letters supposedly sent from county election supervisors to people in almost two dozen florida counties over the last several days. the bogus letters were sent in the mail to addresses in florida questioning the citizenship status and eligibility of registered voters. the letters told the recipients that they had to fill out and submit a form that asked for social security information among other things. the letters tell recipients that
failure to submit that form will result in removal of their name from voter registration rolls, that they're no longer eligible to vote. all of which is not true. also a warning that they may be subject to arrest and imprisonment. we spoke with republican secretary of state in florida today and he told us he's trying to get the word out about these letters while also pledging to find out whoever did this. >> i expect the number to go up. and we are very serious about this matter. this type of effort to intimidate voters in florida is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. and we anticipate taking every measure possible with law enforcement to make sure that the individuals doing this are prosecuted. >> so, joe, did these letters go to both democrats and republicans or what? >> well, wolf, secretary of state ken you saw right there said the letters have gone out to voters of both parties. but the offices of several election supervisors we spoke with said most of the people who
received them were registered republican voters. a democrat and supervisor of elections in leon county, which is basically tallahassee, says he learned that three of these letters went out under his name. he thinks politically active republicans are being targeted. >> i suspect that whoever sending out these letters has purchased some kind of a donor or campaign list that's given him a group of high profile republicans. and i suspect they're sending this letter to them probably to do some kind of dark humored spoof. which of course is not very funny. and the individuals who are receiving these letters are sometimes very, very, very disturbed. which i think is probably the whole purpose for this letter. >> the letters actually call for the recipient to report to the county election office. so whoever did this apparently wanted it to be found out.
ion sancho there said he turned the letters he received over to federal prosecutors. the fbi says no decision has been made on whether to open an investigation. everybody we talked to said these letters, wolf, were mailed from the see yat l, washington, area. >> potentially committed a crime and could wind up in jail. >> absolutely. mail fraud is a simple thing. basically you need intent, misrepresentation and you need somebody to do it in the mail. so it doesn't take much to pass that test. >> joe, thanks very much for that disturbing report. early voting already is underway in the battleground state of ohio. in our next hour we're going to tell you about some interesting trends that we're already witnessing.
there are some alarming new numbers connected with the nationwide meningitis outbreak. kate bolduan's back. she's got that, some of the other top stories of the day, kate. >> hey, wolf. it's a big expansion of its warnings. the food and drug administration now says more than 1,200 hospitals and clinics bought steroids and other drugs from a company whose contaminated products are linked to meningitis infections. the government reported new illnesses today. many of the cases are in tennessee. and the state's pharmacy board just announced the new england compounding center's chief pharmacist no longer has a license to operate in the state of tennessee. also, there was a big selloff on wall street today by the closing bell stocks were at a seven-week low. several companies in the dow industrials most notably du pont announced worse than expected urnings rai-- earnings --.
folks at apple unveiled new gadgets. a smaller thinner tablet named the ipad mini. it's design today compete with amazon and google, but the least expensive version will be selling for $$399. >> thanks very much, kate. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, president obama slams his rival's debate performance saying he's suffering from romnesia. but as the candidates hit the road, is mitt romney making series inroads right now in key battleground states? our reporters are in the swing states. they're toss-ups right now. we're talking to voters who will give us an idea which way they will go on election day. and get this, tropical storm sandy heading straight for islands in the caribbean. could it also hammer the united
states as a halloween hurricane? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." the dust has settled from the final debate. and now with just two weeks left in this extraordinarily close presidential campaign, the candidates are back on the campaign trail urgently crisscrossing the country focusing in on the battleground states that hold the key to this election. only cnn has the reach to stay with them every step of the way. this hour we'll go live to cnn's dan lothian in dayton, ohio. shannon travis is in toledo, ohio. john king is in virginia. the most crucial of all the battleground states right now is certainly ohio.
it has not voted for a loser in the presidential election since 1960. ohio now has 18 electoral votes. president obama captured the state in 2008. our latest cnn poll of polls shows president obama leading romney among likely voters there 48% to 45%. that keeps ohio a toss-up yellow on the cnn electoral map. that keeps the candidates coming back and back and back to ohio. president obama and vice president biden are both in ohio right now. so is our white house correspondent dan lothian. he's joining us from dayton. dan, what's the president's mood on this day after this final debate? >> reporter: well, the president certainly seemed fired up and campaigning here in the important battleground state of ohio. he's been here every week so far this month. more than 30 times since he took office. and today he continued to swing at his gop opponent mitt romney essentially picking up where he left off yesterday trying to
push that narrative that when it comes to domestic issues or foreign policy, governor romney is all over the map. the president has made that argument before. but today he took it up a notch. >> if you talk about how much you love teachers during a debate, but just a few weeks ago you said we shouldn't hire anymore because it won't grow our economy, you might have romnesia. if you say you won't give a big tax cut to the wealthy, but you're on a video promising you're tax cut would include the top 1%, that sounds like a classic case of romnesia. if you say that you love american cars during a debate, you're a car guy, but you wrote an article titled "let detroit go bankrupt," you definitely
have a case of romnesia. >> reporter: as if responding to criticism that the president has not made a convincing case for what his agenda is for the next four years, the obama campaign putting out this 19-page pamphlet, also releasing a new ad. a lot of it we've heard before talking about energy, manufacturing, building the economy from the middle class out. republicans pounced on this saying that it's just more repackaging. it shows that there's desperation, that the obama campaign is on the defense because they realize that this race is very tight, wolf. >> how are these final two weeks of the campaign shaping up for the president, dan? >> reporter: well, wolf, we're seeing a crisscrossing of the country over the next 48 hours. the president will be hitting eight different states. two of those he will not be having rallies. he'll be heading to los angeles to be on "the tonight show" with jay leno and to chicago where
he'll be doing early voting. but the big focus is on the key battleground states as the obama campaign try to make people register, go out and vote, vote early but also targeting the undecided voters that could decide this race. >> dan lothian, thank you. many ohio voters have already cast their ballots. early absentee voting began october 2nd. the vice president joe biden is there today as well. he's urging ohioans to take advantage. >> and the polls are open now for extended hours, 8:00 in the morning to 7:00 p.m. folks, go in force now. go vote now. >> for more right now and the impact that could have, let's turn to our political reporter shannon travis. shannon, you're at the only early voting precinct in toledo right now. what are you seeing? >> reporter: it's actually the only early voting place in the entire county of lucas, toledo
is in this county. what we're seeing right now, wolf, is who actually should be president. i'm going to keep my voice down a little bit because it is an active polling center. you see voters basically casting their ballots. give you a brief look at one of the machines they're casting their ballots on. you come here with an electronic card, you stick it in, you begin the voting process. earlier today i spoke with some people who actually cast their ballots already, actually a few people earlier today as well as last night postdebate. we want to play you some sound from those voters. take a listen to what they had to say, wolf. >> i think the push for me on the early voting part is the fact that i believe in ohio. and just like any other place, but in ohio specifically every vote counts. so if you the day comes up and you can't vote, you've lost the chance to give your opinion. >> i voted for mitt romney. >> and why is that, ma'am? >> because i feel like he can take this country in a different direction. and we need to go in a different direction.
so i'm hoping he's successful. >> reporter: now, obviously some opinion there, some romney supporters, i spoke with one guy last night, wolf, who startling to me was a republican, did not vote for obama in 2008 but is voting for president obama this time around saying that mitt romney didn't earn his vote, wolf. >> are you getting any numbers? how many people have actually voted so far? >> reporter: yeah, that's a great question. we've actually got some really fresh numbers just out today from the ohio secretary of state. going to rattle some of these numbers off, wolf. just over 813,000 ohioans have already cast early votes. put that in perspective. in 2008 there were about 1.7 million total. so we're already over half that amount -- nearly halfway to that amount, i should say, still two weeks out from the election. also for this county alone, for lucas county as i mentioned before, we have party
affiliation in terms of democrat affiliated we have 23,155. and in terms of republicans affiliated we have 9,442. again, not -- we're not saying that those democrats cast votes for obama and the republicans cast votes for romney. but it's a telling how many people have already cast absentee ballots in this county alone so far, wolf. >> shannon travis on the scene for us in ohio. thank you. jack cafferty is joining us right now. he's got more on last night's debate, what it all means come election day in two weeks. jack's got the cafferty file, jack. >> three presidential debates in the history books. so now what? well, after all the hype, the expectations games played by both campaigns, lowering the bar for their guy, raising the bar for the other guy, the three 90-minute sessions themselves, the postgame spin by both sides and all the talking heads on television, after all of that, here's what we know, mitt romney did himself some good. maybe even a lot of good.
headed into the first debate some had already written romney's political obituary. they thought the race was president obama's to lose. and that's just what he did in that first debate. he tried to throw it all away. regardless of who wins in two weeks, one of the most memorable moments of the campaign will likely be president obama's failure to show up for the first debate. the president's dismal unpresidential and uninterested performance combined with mitt romney's strong showing shook the race to its very core. as new jersey governor chris christie predicted wisely beforehand, that first debate did in fact turn the race upside down. and ever since that moment as the polls turned against the president, he's been playing catch-up. the president came prepared for the remaining debates. he went on the offense against romney and held his own maybe even more than held his own. but these last two face-offs didn't provide a clear winner, not like the debacle in denver
did. and what remains to be seen is whether the president can stop the bleeding and undo the image he left on 70 million americans who watched that first debate. we'll find out two weeks from today. here's the question, now that the debates are history, how much did they matter? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile, post a comment on my blog or go to our post on "the situation room" facebook page. >> i think historians will write if the president does lose, that first debate will have turned out to have been the game changer in this entire contest. before as you pointed out he looked like he was getting ready to coast to a win. but now it's nail-biting time for both of these campaigns. >> in the long history of presidential debates, and i can remember back to kennedy-nixon, i think that first debate in denver might go down as the single most significant presidential debate ever. a lot of times these things come and go and don't really register on the richter scale. but that thing caused an
earthquake. >> all right, jack. thank you. certainly was one of president obama's best lines of the debate last night. he may have stung mitt romney, but did he hurt himself with an important group of voters, especially in virginia? i'll ask democratic congressman chris van hollen. eveverery y titimeme o of f. ououtdtdoooorsrs, , oro. trtranansisititiononss® ls auautotomamatiticacalllly y fift ththe e ririghght t amamouountn. soso y youou s seeee e eveg ththe e waway y itit is memeanant t toto b be e ses. mamaybybe e evevenen a lilittttlele b betette. exexpeperirienencece l lifife e, asask k fofor r trtrananss adadapaptitiveve l lene.
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one of the many pointed remarks in last night's presidential debate came after mitt romney said he wants to boost the size of the united states navy. president obama answered with one of his sharpest barbs. but could that end up stinging himself? watch this. >> you mentioned the navy for example. and we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed. we have things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. we have ships that go under water, nuclear submarines. so the question is not a game of
battleship where we're counting ships. >> all right. joining us now, democratic congressman chris van hollen of maryland, thanks for coming in. >> great to be with you, wolf. >> shipbuilding very, very important especially in your neighboring state. is this kind of comment going to hurt the president in virginia? >> no, it's not going to hurt the president, wolf. because whether you live in virginia or anywhere else in the united states, you want a military strategy that's based on the current needs and requirements that we face overseas. and the president's budget for the military is actually grown substantially every year. it does continue to grow. it is the budget that was put together in consultation with the joint chiefs of staff. it has a very strong navy, a very strong army and are very strong air force. in fact, as the president's pointed out, our military budget is larger than the next ten countries around the world combined. so there's no question that the president's budget for defense
is fit and measure to fit our strategic needs around the world. >> as romney repeatedly points out, he's already cut half a trillion dollars in projected growth in defense spending over the next ten years. and if the sequestration, the forced cuts go into effect, that would be another half a trillion dollars. >> and republicans continue to protect special interest tax breaks rather than to protect defense spending. they've been given lots of opportunities to say let's avoid that sequester, let's eliminate some special interest tax breaks, let's do some other cuts and prevent that. and the president's been very clear. the president has on the table a proposal to prevent those sequesters from taking place. mitt romney and his allies have opposed the idea of one additional penny going to help reduce our deficit or help pay for our national defense if it means asking people like mitt romney to contribute a little bit more. >> to pay higher taxes? >> well that's right. he has taken this pledge that says he won't raise one more
penny either to reduce the deficit or to increase the funding for the defense department. >> here's something the president said last night that's created a lot of buzz especially up on capitol hill where you work. watch this. >> first of all, the sequester's not something i proposed, it's something congress has proposed. it will not happen. >> you know what happened. did the president propose the sequester? >> no, what the president proposed was a balanced approach to reducing the deficit. he said let's not have these across the board cuts. we need a combination of targeted spending cuts. >> but when that didn't happen, who came up with the idea of the sequester? >> i do not know. the sequester idea is one that began in the 1990s. paul ryan in his budget has had across the board sequesters if different targets did not meet. so republicans all voted for this to suggest this was somehow all the president's idea, it's nonsense. i just remember speaker boehner was quoted after we passed the deficit control act, the budget
control act, saying he got 97% of what he wanted. this is the republican speaker of the house. >> so when the president says it will not happen, how does he know it will not happen? >> because there's a bipartisan agreement and determination to avoid the sequester by coming up with alternative cuts. >> you just pointed out that the republicans don't want to increase taxes. that's part of the deal, right? >> well, i think what the president has said was he's confident that we will find a way to replace the sequester because everybody agrees that these acts across the board indiscriminate cuts to defense and nondefense would be bad for the country. >> he said flatly it will not happen. i wonder how he can be so sure. it's one thing he's confident, might not happen. but when he says it will not happen, how does he know it will not happen? a lot of people are worried about that fiscal cliff as you well know. >> there are two parts of the fiscal cliff. one is the sequester we're talking about and the other is
the tax piece. what the president has said on that is very clear. immediately extend tax relief 100% of the $250,000 income. republicans have said we're going to hold middle class taxpayers hostage. we're not going to give tax relief to 98% of people unless very high incomers like mitt romney get a tax break. i don't think that's a sustainable position come january 1st. >> how worried are you right now about your constituents, for example, in montgomery county, maryland, some other counties in maryland? there's a lot of defense contractors, a lot of people have their jobs in defense-relate ed industries in your district. >> i'm worried in defense and on defense. i know people focus on defense, that's an important part. there are also very important investments we make in trying to find cures and treatments to cancers and other dieases, the fda that provides safety for our food supply.
these are orr cuts we would also face. >> the slashing of government spending, a lot of government workers in montgomery county, maryland. >> that would be bad for them and the country and the national economy. and that's a number of economists have made that point. >> you agree you've got to cut spending in order to deal with the deficit. >> but that's right. you can cut the spending over a more gradual period of time where it's certain that you're going to cut it but over a longer period of time. for example, i put forward a very specific plan to avoid the sequester for an entire year includes cuts to direct payments and farm subsidies but also end subsidies for big oil companies and other revenues. the house of representatives didn't allow a vote on that very sensitive proposal. had a mix of cuts and revenue. what the president is saying is he's confident that at the end of the day we will find a bipartisan way forward. and we should. >> congressman, thanks for coming in. >> thank you. we talked about virginia just now. our own john king is on the ground in virginia. he's talking with voters. you're going to hear his report in just a few minutes. also, that record breaking dive
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just hours after the presidential debate on foreign policy ended, bombs exploded in iraq's capital. kate is back. she's monitoring that, some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what happened, kate? >> hey, wolf. a series of attacks in shiite neighborhoods in baghdad have killed at least nine people and wounded dozens more. a policeman patrolling one area said three car bombs exploded, one right after another. the violence comes just days before the start of a religious
festival. militant attacks doubled last month to the highest level in more than two years. also, a former cia officer accused of leaking classified information has reached a deal with prosecutors. he pleaded guilty to intentionally identifying a covert agent. he also admitted to telling reporters the name of a different cia employee involved in an operation to catch an alleged al qaeda operative. he's expected to spend two and a half years in prison. and cnn has learned in just the last few hours that congressman jesse jackson jr. is back in the hospital. the mayo clinic says he returned for a follow-up to make sure he's on the path to managing his health. the nine-term illinois democrat is battling with depression. he's running for re-election this november. a growing number of americans are delaying retirement. listen to this, and planning to work into their 80s. for many of them it's because they can't afford to retire
full-time. a new survey by wells fargo shows saving for retirement is on the back burner with more than half of middle class americans focused more on paying monthly bills. 30% now plan to work until they are 80 or older up from 25% a year ago. reminded me of that line you always tell me, work when your young and harder when you're older. isn't that what you said? >> rich or poor, it's good to have money. >> exactly. very smart man your father was. >> thank you. president obama turned a red state blue back in 2008. does he still have a chance in virginia this time around? that can only come from having someone else pay your mortgage for an entire year... this is what you'll experience if you win the quicken loans skip-a-year mortgage sweepstakes. up to five winners will get to skip a year of mortgage payments... courtesy of quicken loans. enter often at skipayear.com for more chances to experience...this... the skip-a-year mortgage sweepstakes. one more way quicken loans is engineered to amaze!
virginia certainly hotly contested battleground state. its 13 electoral votes went to president obama back in 2008. but recent polls show the race in virginia is a virtual tie. virginia remains a toss-up yellow on cnn's electoral map. our chief national correspondent john king is in virginia right now. he's joining us.
what's going on in virginia right now? because with ohio and florida, that could determine who the next president of the united states will be. >> reporter: it absolutely could, wolf. thirteen electoral votes, i'm in a county only half hour drive from washington assuming you don't hit heavy traffic. remember in 2008 president obama turned this state blue. he won by about 235,000 votes statewide, 234,000 plus of them came from the northern virginia counties. so turnout, turnout, turnout is the big focus here as the president tries to match that 2008 level. he needs african-american votes in richmond, in the chesapeake tidewater area, but a big turnout also needed in the suburbanites. it's a big shift in the transplant of this state. a lot of college educated people, president tends to do well, a lot of people who work for the government or contractors related to the government work.
the president is hoping he can gin up the turnout here and democrats skeptical from the 2008. the poll showed the president with a lead of four, five, some of the polls six or seven or eight points. now everyone concedes it's a dead heat and the romney campaign believes momentum has swung their way and this state will return to its republican dna. governor romney very much needs it. he needs florida, north carolina, virginia. then he moves into ohio and would need one more. if he could do all that, the president they insist they haven't given up on the state of virginia. if they can't get a wisconsin, they could use virginia in the president's column. this one so close to the nation's capitol will be a battleground until the very end. >> defense spending, especially naval defense spending is critical in various parts of virginia. northern virginia, southern virginia, norfolk, the world's largest naval port. how big of an issue is the difference on this specific issue between romney and the
president? >> reporter: well, you remember the line that trended most on social media last night was when the president scornfully, some say sarcastically, some say even in a condescending way turned it governor romney in the fight over defense spending when romney was saying we need more naval ships and the president said we don't have as many bayonets or horses as we used to either, governor. a lot of people think that will play big. when governor romney returns in a few days, it will be near the naval installations. i asked representative conley if that would hurt and the romney campaign says to watch for that to pop up. jerry koconley understands the technical is important as the ships you have in the navy. but the president might have thought it was a clever line, but they're not so sure that it might not in the end help governor romney in a state where everybody thinks it will be razor close.
>> lots of jobs involved in the state of virginia. thanks very much, john. let's get to our strategy session right now. joining us cnn contributors democratic strategist donna brazile and erick, erickson, editor and chief of redstate,.com. donna, i had this exchange with our friend and colleague paul begala yesterday. the president's campaign announced he's going to begin a six-state campaign tour over the next couple days after the debate. iowa, colorado, nevada, florida, virginia, ohio. has he given up on north carolina? >> yes. i'm not suppose today say that, wolf. but as you mention, i work for the pro-obama super pac. so i'm being paid to help re-elect the president, but if you look at where he's going and spending money, yes, it looks like governor romney is likely to carry north carolina. >> all right. donna, i don't think the president has been back to north carolina since the democratic convention in charlotte. you agree with paul?
>> first of all, i have to go with what jim, the campaign manager and david axelrod is they have not pulled any staff, they have not pulled any of the television advertisements. so north carolina's still in play. as you know, voters are now able to cast their ballots early. that's the way the democrats won four years ago. so i assume until i hear differently that north carolina is still one of those swing states that they intend to compete in. >> but don't actions speak louder than words, donna? the president's missing in action from north carolina right now. so no matter what the campaign says, if he's not going there, if they're not showing up to campaign, what does that say to you? >> there are many ways to have feet on the ground other than have the president's. it might be other footprints, i haven't looked at their schedule lately, wolf, because i've been traveling myself. i go by what the campaign's
saying. every week we're going to hear stories about romney pulling out of pennsylvania, obama pulling out of north carolina. i assume they'll do a lot of head faking. i know what it's like to pull out staff. i know what it's like to turn off the lights in a state and tell the politicians that we're leaving the state. i haven't seen any evidence that the politicians -- cause the first thing they will do is complain that you have pulled out without leaving them with resources like staff and money and television ads. so, again, i just think this is just part of what we do in the polling game until election day. we figure out what these candidates are doing. >> erick, what about pennsylvania or michigan for that matter? for all practical purposes, has romney given up on those two states? >> well, you know, this is the thing with what donna was saying about north carolina. the president to some degree has a bit of hue brous here. it's abundantly clear on the ground democratic and republican partisans are rumbling about it,
but they don't want to do that because it would become a huge news story in the last two weeks that the president is starting to concede states he doesn't want to concede. i expect we'll hear that very soon about florida. even nate silver saying they need to reinvest in ohio. i think the romney campaign we're seeing them in michigan pretty much say we're not going to win michigan maybe in the last week i think peter hamby reported if they have money left they'll do it. i don't think they're actually targeting pennsylvania so much as they're trying to help the senate seat there. suddenly barack obama doesn't have the coat tails to do it with his senate candidates. romney's doing on the western side of the state, those media markets go into ohio, it is interesting to see them start going into wisconsin still which i think probably goes to the president, leans to the president, but they're trying to make those inroads. what i find fascinating is it looks like the battleground for the president is beginning to shrink as it's beginning to grow for mitt romney, which isn't a good sign for an incumbent president. >> hold on -- >> it's not shrinking. >> hold on, donna, i want to continue this conversation with both of you.
we have to make a quick break. when we come back we'll also talk about campaign ads. both of these campaigns are out with new ads asking voters to choose what they call the right path. but which path is the right path? we're going to explore that with donna and erick when we come back. the pace of change is accelerating. the way we... perform, compete and grow. and people are driving this change. that's the power of human resources. the society... for human resource management and its members know... how to harness that power, because we help develop it. from the next economy, to the next generation, we help get... the most out of business, by getting the best out of people. shrm. leading people, leading organizations. throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin
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little clips. watch this. >> boosting american-made energy, reducing the deficits responsibly by cutting where we can and asking the wealthy to pay a little more. and ending the war in afghanistan so we can do some nation building here at home. that's the right path. >> there are two very different paths the country can take. one is a path represented by the president which at the end of four years means we would have $20 trillion in debt heading towards greece. i'll get us on track to a balanced budget. >> let's start with you, donna. what do you think of those two closing arguments? >> well, i think they really capture what is the choice this fall. and that is, do we continue on a track that is led to 32 consecutive months of job growth, not as much as anyone would like, but it's job growth, job creation. if the republicans would simply get out of the way with all the whining and complaining, we could do more. versus going back making that u-turn back to the policies that
got us in this fiscal mess. and once again as we saw last night in the debate, governor romney's plan simply doesn't add up. he keeps putting together more ideas, more plans thinking if he take a little bit of this out and put a little more of that, it will somehow or another add up. and it simply doesn't add up to a balanced approach, nor a balanced budget in the future. >> what do you think of those closing arguments, erick? >> you know, they sound somewhat similar. i would admit that although i think that the obama campaign is going to have a very hard time doing now what donna suggested over these last three debates as so many americans have seen them trying to paint mitt romney as the second coming of george w. bush, all the pulling out and even the polls that show obama slightly ahead even show fresh look at mitt romney for all the conservative critics of romney including myself thought he should have spent money early, i think we've been proven wrong. they've held their money well and they have a chance to redefine romney and the
president's team will have a hard time putting him back in the box they tried to paint him in. >> how worried are you right now, donna? i've spoken to a lot of democrats over the past few days including today, they're pretty worried. >> worried about what, wolf? look, wolf, i've managed a campaign, seven presidential campaigns. i know conventional wisdom and the polls and media will try to replay it and try to analyze it. you know, if you're a campaign manager, you tell your staff to focus, focus, focus on the goal. 12 years ago when i was running al gore's campaign everybody kept telling us to throw in the towel. this is george w. bush. this race is very, very close. it's going to be tight. the obama campaign knew this from day one. that's why they have a good ground game as well as a good air game, whatever you want to call it, tv wars, but at the end of the day it's going to be close. i do believe president obama will eke out another strong victory. >> what do you think, erick? who's going to win this race? >> you know, four years ago as republicans were melting down in
the last couple weeks, they were claiming great conspiracy theories, hugo chavez controlling electronic voting and two months ago republicans saying the polls were rigged and now the democrats claiming tag romney invested in electronic voting and democrats claiming polls are skewed. this looks like where the republicans were two months ago when the republicans were losing. that's not a good sign for the obama campaign. >> donna brazile -- >> we're in good shape. >> what, donna? >> we're in good shape. we're going to get our vote out. we're going to win. we're doing pretty good. >> i hope so for us. >> one thing about democrats, we tend to come to the party late. when we come, we come strong and stay all night long. >> and vote for mitt romney. >> two weeks to go. tropical storm sandy, by the way, is gathering strength right now in the caribbean as jamaica
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tropical storm sandy is churning through the caribbean heading straight for jamaica and haiti. it's expected to grow stronger, but could it become a halloween hurricane for parts of the united states? let's go right to our cnn meteorologist and severe weather expert chad myers. a lot of people forget we're still in hurricane season, chad, right now. what's the latest? >> i know. you don't even get out of hurricane season until the end of november. it's when the water gets so cold that it can't support a hurricane. well, sandy is getting bigger. sandy is south of jamaica. i know this is zoomed in. there's jamaica.
here's haiti and the dominican republ republic. there's sandy in the warmest water of the caribbean. it's gaining strength and getting bigger because the water is certainly warm enough. where does it go from here? straight over jamaica as a hurricane. hurricane warnings are in effect for jamaica. and then into the bahamas. so really if you're on vacation to jamaica or maybe on a short cruise to the bahamas, this will effect your vacation, no question about it. now, the u.s. at least for now, wolf, is not in the cone. here to here the u.s. right through here. so i just want you to know though, the u.s. is not that far out of the cone as a 60 or 70-mile-per-hour storm. here's the rub. we talk about the computer models. i'm drawing two separate models. it's going to be hard to tell the difference right now, but there's a yellow and a white one. the white and yellow hang together. they are right over the bahamas in about 72 hours. they are very much in agreement. so we know the bahamas will get
it. we know cuba will get it and jamaica eventually. the two low pressure systems, one goes to the left, one goes to new york city. but all the others go out to the atlantic. that's we're concerned about. if it does turn left and go to new england or new york, it will be seven days away. new york, you are not in the cone, but you're not quite out of everything yet. when the computers all decide that it's going that way, we'll be in good shape. if they all decide something else, we'll keep you advised. >> i know you'll be watching sandy every step of the way, chad. thank you. let's check in with jack once again for the cafferty file. jack? >> it was a year ago we got that freak snowstorm in october up here in the northeast and knocked a bunch of trees down. it was awful. we had a lot of snow and people didn't have power for several days in some of these areas. so let's hope that doesn't happen. the question this hour is, now that the debates are history, how much did they matter? david in florida says, they matter little. the only difference is that
obama didn't bother to show up for the first dog and pony show and that permanently set him behind. i took it as an insult to those of us who support him. and helen writes, "the first debate's impact was huge. we'll all be talking for years about how to win or lose an election by one debate performance." and for folks who have been paying attention through the primaries, debates matter little. but for those who have just recently tuned into the election, the debates may help them to make their decision. dee in new york city writes, "i think they did matter and the first debate turned tide. romney got to prove he's not some sort of cold, out of touch monster. obama getting more desperate with each passing week has shown what an angry, petty street fighter he is. romney came across as reasonable, smart, able to cross the aisle, capable, and presidential." annie in atlanta says, "honestly, jack, the debates don't mean a thing to me personally, but then i paid attention to what these guys said from the first day they've
thrown their hat in the ring. it's a shame we have so much information available, and yet so few of us even bother to read through it." and ken in seattle writes, "some of my favorite tv programs were not on and that was a bummer. in terms of the election, they provided nothing of value." if you want to read more about this, go to the blog, cnn.com/cafferty file or through our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. >> t"the situation room" is one of ken's favorite tv show. we were on, as you know, jack. >> it is good that he watches us. my guess is that he's probably more of a cable channel kind of guy. millions of people watched the daredevil jumper. he tells cnn about a crucial moment that almost ended the entire mission. at shell, we believe the world needs a broader mix of energies. that's why we're supplying natural gas to generate cleaner electricity...
aspercreme. he floated up 24 miles to the edge of space, and then jumped. but felix baumgartner's daredevil mission almost didn't happen because of a phobia. he sat down with cnn's brian todd to describe his record-setting fall to earth. >> reporter: a stunning stratosphere jump. setting records for height, halving the speed of sound, a jump that almost didn't happen. >> i want you to tell me about the low point, in the last five years. i read that in 2010, you were supposed to do a test in the high pressure suit, and something happened and you left the mission. >> that was the low point. because i always could feel that i'm having a problem in that
pressure suit. but i could not address the problem, because it really was -- they fought felix can do it. and i always thought, okay, maybe one day i just put this pressure suit on and it's not a problem anymore. but i was wrong. i knew i have to maintain five hours in that suit, and i couldn't sleep that night before, because i knew i'm not going to perform well tomorrow. >> was that when you first realized you were claustrophobic? >> i already knew that i'm kind of claustrophobic, but i was always playing it down. i never addressed that problem, because if i tell the guys, i cannot maintain that suit for five hours, it's over. if you do not find resolution, it's over. and i thought, hey, maybe it's getting better, every time i get into the suit, it's getting better, but it's getting worse. i always had to fight my way through that. i wanted to do it. they had moved the capsule. everybody was there. and soy went to the airport,
l.a.x., and i called our project leader and told him, hey, i'm out of here. i have to go back to austria. i can't do it. >> did you feel at that point that the mission was over? >> yeah. i was crying like a baby at the airport. and i thought it's over. >> reporter: but in europe, baumgartner worked with a psychologist and a performance coach and overcame his claurs fonobody phobia and built back toward the big moment. what is your feeling at that point? you're on the ledge, you can't get back in the capsule. what's going through your mind? >> i like that part of the jump, because it means you're already outside, everything worked well, and if you have a problem, you know, probably jumping off is the fastest and safest way, because now you're falling towards a much healthier environment. you're falling towards more pressure, towards more oxygen, and if you need medical treatment, this is the fastest way down. so to me, this is an easy step.
>> at this point, you had us all very scared. did you feel like you were going to die at that point? >> no, no, no. i never had that impression, that i'm going to die. i always had the impression, if this goes on forever, i'm not going to break the speed of sound. >> how did you bring yourself out of that spin? >> i was only trying to figure out how to stop it. so you use your legs and arms, but you have to be very gentle, if you're traveling that fast, you cannot stick your arm out like this, because then that would create a rapid onset and you cannot stop it anymore. you slowly put out your arms and legs and see what can help and i did it a couple times and find out what was getting worse, what was getting better. >> reporter: baumgartner says he cried twice on the helicopter ride back to mission control and then celebrated all night. >> how has your life changed since the moment you landed?
>> as a person, it did not change. i'm still the same guy. but as soon as you start traveling, as soon as you get on a plane, as soon as you're at the airport, out on the street, people do recognize my face. hey, thank you guys. >> i was scared. >> you were scared? >> i was a little bit scared. >> you did it for all of us. >> we appreciate it. >> you gave us all a huge charge that day. >> appreciate it. >> by the way, baumgartner says he's done jumping and he's working on his commercial helicopter pilot's license. happening now, two weeks until election day, the presidential candidates charge into battleground states to try to change minds and win votes. new questions about the final obama/romney debate. did they send america's most dangerous adversaries mixed messages? and cnn takes the election express on the road, to find out what swing state voters are really thinking right now.
i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." 14 days and millions of votes on the line. president obama, and former governor romney, they are beginning the final leg of their election marathon. our correspondents are out in full force, covering the candidates, talking to voters in the key battleground states that will decide this election. first this hour, we're taking you to ohio, one of the most crucial swing states, 18 electoral votes at stake. it went for president obama four years ago. but right now, our poll of polls shows he's neck and neck with romney in ohio. that's why it's one of the yellow toss-up states on cnn's electoral map. the president wrapped up a rally in dayton, ohio, just a little while ago, along with the vice president, joe biden, and a glossy new blueprint for a second term. our chief white house correspondent, jessica yellin, is in dayton with the latest.
jessica? >> reporter: hi, wolf. just a month ago, president obama had a healthy lead here in ohio, but now you can tell both from his tone and his schedule, he knows this is now a fight to the finish. on the trail, no sign president obama plans to tone down the sarcasm he unleashed at the last debate. >> if you talk about how much you love teachers during a debate, but just a few weeks ago, you said we shouldn't hire any more because it won't grow our economy, you might have romnesia. >> reporter: if anything, he has sharpened his bite. >> we had a severe outbreak last night. it was at least, at least phase three romnesia. >> reporter: but the focus is shifting. now a closing argument. >> there's no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust. trust matters. you know, you want to know that
the person who's applying to be your president and commander in chief is trustworthy. >> reporter: and part of that argument, this booklet summarizing the president's accomplishments and second term goals. and a new ad on the same. the president taking the message on a three-day swing through six battleground states. >> we believe that anytime the president can be with voters and make the case in those states, we're gaining. and we want to touch as many people as we can in the next two weeks. and make that case. >> reporter: target audience -- >> it's about getting out early votes. it's also about talking to undecided voters in all these states. >> reporter: the president is trying to close the deal. >> i'm asking for your vote! i'm asking you to help me finish the job. >> now with sarcasm thrown in. >> governor romney didn't even mention our veterans last night. don't boo, vote. >> reporter: you see, wolf, he has a bit of a two-pronged
message there. it's the more neutral/positive message that seems to be directed to the undecided voters. that's why he's rolled out this plan, saying he has a detailed vision for a second term, though we've already heard the details in it, and then more of that sarcastic tone, which seems driven and directed to the base voters, who he wants to energize to get out and vote either early or on election day, wolf. >> now, he's only spending time in the key battleground states, but he is making a side trip to california, which is obviously going to go for him. is he only going to do the jay leno show? is that why he's going to california? >> reporter: that's what he's doing. he's doing a swing through california to appear on late-night tv with jay leno, and then he's hitting those battleground states, nevada, colorado, virginia, florida, ohio. he's going to ohio twice. and what did i leave out? colorado, nevada, virginia? i don't know. there's one -- did i miss? i don't know. >> we'll figure it out. >> reporter: we'll let you know later if i skipped one. but he's not taking anything off
the table. >> he's certainly not. maybe north carolina. a lot of speculation about that. >> reporter: yeah, no visit there right now. >> thanks very much, jessica, for that. mitt romney is getting ready for a rally in nevada. kate, you're getting ready for that rally right now as well. >> absolutely. >> to report on it. >> i wish i was in nevada. nevada with its six electoral votes is another state that president obama won four years ago, but it's up for grabs now. the latest polling shows the president just two points ahead of romney in nevada, making it another toss-up state on our electoral map. romney appeared in nevada with his running mate, paul ryan. jim acosta is in henderson, nevada. jim, you have been doing a lot of traveling. what's the latest now? >> reporter: that's right. that's right, kate. and i can tell you that mitt romney and paul ryan just wrapped up a campaign event, a joint campaign event here in
henderson, nevada, just outside of las vegas, within the last hour. they are on their way to another battleground state, the state of colorado, for an event later on this evening. but after talking to the romney campaign earlier this afternoon, i can tell you they do believe that mitt romney achieved his objectives in these presidential debates. that he came across, in their mind, as an acceptable commander in chief to the american people, and that he also in this last debate did not take the wait from the president and respond to each and every one of his attacks. they believe that tactic worked as well. but now the debates are over and the real race is on. bang, the final presidential debate was the starting pistol for a two-week sprint to the finish line. >> hello, florida! >> reporter: as president obama fought to hold on to florida, mitt romney tried his luck in nevada, arguing he's got the big mo. >> and these debates have super charged our campaign. there's no question about it. we're seeing more and more enthusiasm, more and more support.
his is a message of going forward with the same policies of the last four years. and that's why his campaign is slipping and that's why ours is gaining so much steam. >> and by the way, the math in my plan adds up. >> reporter: after the president unveiled a pamphlet advising his plan for the second term, romney's campaign was trying to read between the lines. >> i would say that it's a glossy panic button. >> reporter: the romney campaign has already turned the gop's debate headed toward the economy. >> governor romney, wrong and reckless policies? >> i've got a policy for the future, an agenda for the future. >> reporter: into a new ad. >> i'll get us on track to balanced budget. >> reporter: a trio of key debate flashpoints laid down the battle lines for three crucial swing states. for jewish voters in florida, romney's attack on mr. obama's decision not to visit israel during his first foreign trip as president. >> you went to the middle east
and you flew to egypt and to saudi arabia and to turkey and iraq. and by the way, you skipped israel. >> if we're going to talk about trips that we've taken -- >> reporter: for factory workers in ohio, the flare-up over romney's opposition over the out bail out. >> they would have gone through a liquidation -- >> you're wrong. >> i'm not wrong. >> people will look it up. >> people will look it up. >> reporter: and for romney's charge about virginia that the size of the navy is at 1917 levels. >> governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because nature of our military has changed. >> reporter: it was hardly a direct hit for either candidate, as it turns out every marine still undergoes bayonet training. and the fact checking watchdog politifact labeled romney's navy comment as pants on fire.
and that comment about romz theseya, a senior romney adviser had a response for that early this afternoon, accusing the president of trying to play scrabble with mitt romney's name. but really, wolf, at this point, and kate, at this point, it is a game of rubics cube. both of these campaigns are furiously trying to line up the states that they need, to eke out a victory. and kate, by the looks of it, this is going to be a very, very close race and i think both campaigns know it. >> i think you're absolutely right. jim acosta in henderson, nevada, a very key state. we'll be watching closely come election day. jim, thanks so much. third debate's over. now it's time for closing arguments. . >> two weeks. final two weeks. can you believe it? >> i can't believe it. it feels like we've been covering it for five years now. the presidential candidates didn't limit themselves to foreign policy in their final debate. one reason, they want to appeal to women voters. we're going to break down their answers. gloria borger is standing by live. everyone in the nicu,
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in the final presidential debate of 2012, the candidates seemed to tailor their answers, at times, to try to appeal to women voters. >> and here are some examples from their discussion last night. >> in order for us to be competitive, we're going to have to make some smart choices right now. cutting our education budget, that's not a smart choice. >> we can't kill our way out of this mess. >> but what i think the american people recognize is, after a decade of war, it's time to do some nation building here at home. >> america is going to come back. and for that to happen, we're going to have to have a president who can work across the aisle. >> let's bring in our chief political analyst, gloria borger. gloria, when you hear those lines, what were they both trying to accomplish with that? how does that appeal to women voters? >> well, talking about things like education, talking about things like bipartisanship, not sounding bellicose, like you want to start another war in iran, for example, something that mitt romney had to be very,
very careful about. all of those things appeal to women voters, because what women voters are looking for is someone who makes them comfortable. like old voters, women want a candidate they can trust, and that's what each of these candidates were trng to do. >> women voter in higher percentages. there are more women voters than men voters, so how are they trying to focus their drive to win over these women voters in these final two weeks? >> first, let's take a look at where the numbers are. and i have to tell you that i have been having some very hot and heavy e-mail exchanges with senior advisers of both campaigns. because, you know, while the obama campaign will say, we do well with women, the romney campaign says, we do well with men. so let's take a look at this. and they're both right. so when you ask the question, nbc/"wall street journal" poll, who will you vote for for president? you will see there that the president is up eight points with women, but mitt romney is up ten points with men.
so what's the gender gap? is there a gender gap with women or with men? so if you look back to recent history, the biggest gender gap was when al gore won women by 11 points, but george w. bush won men by nine points. and you know how close that election was in 2000. and we may be in a very similar situation here, which is why you see these campaigns pushing so hard on women, because the romney campaign doesn't have to outdo president obama with women. they just need to get their numbers up a little bit and keep their numbers with men as high as they are. >> now that the debates are over and we're into this final stretch, do you think it's now more a campaign for undecided voters that we've talked about so much, or more about voter turnout? >> i think there are about six undecided voters left in the entire country. honestly. what it is, in talking to a republican pollster today, he said he preferred to describe it
as fluctuating voters. voters who go back and forth, who sometimes have been for the president, maybe they were disaffected obama voters, sometimes for the president, took another look at mitt romney in that first debate, which was very important for mitt romney. said, you know what, maybe he's an acceptable alternative, and then maybe seeing the debate last night, seeing that the president won that on point, maybe they're going to go back. so it's about that and it's about intensity now and getting the people you have identified as your voters, to get out there, to the polls. so it's trying to get those fluctuating voters, but get your voters out. >> michelle obama and ann romney, those would be -- they would be terrific secret weapons -- not so secret -- in these final two weeks. >> and they're out there talking to women. i mean, you remember ann romney at the convention. "we love you, women," she said. well, you can't be anymore obvious than that. she's out there talking to
women, so is michelle obama. not only trying to humanize their husbands, but to say, our husbands care about issues like education, they're bipartisan, they don't want to go to war. so, you know, both of them are very important to the campaign. >> understatement of the year, every vote is going to count this election. that is for sure. >> that's right. >> all right, gloria, thank you so much. still ahead, the cnn express is on the road. it's hitting the road, making stops in florida so we can hear directly from voters in that critical swing state. our ali velshi is on board and he'll be with us, next. this new phone is amazing. i'm watching natalie's ballet recital and i'm pulling photos right from the video. great idea, we can pick one and frame it! here, watch this. she nails almost every move.
the slaughter continuing. dozens of people allegedly killed, simply seeking food in syria. kate's got that and some of the other day's top stories. what a story it is. >> and as always, we want to give fair warning. this video is graphic and disturbing, but it underscores the brutality of the civil war in syria. this is a bakery in the city of aleppo. it was attacked while full of hungry people trying to buy bread and dozens were killed. the rebels accuse the regime terrorizing attacks. cnn cannot verify the authenticity of this video. also in italy, senior members of a disaster coalition have
resigned following six-year sentences in connection with a 2009 earthquake. the scientists were convicted of manslaughter for failing to warn of a major earthquake that killed hundreds of people back in 2009. as i said, the commission members who stepped down say the convictions make it impossible to continue their work. and the food and drug administration is investigating five deaths linked to highly caffeinated monster energy drinks. i'm sure you've seen them at the store. the failing of a maryland teenager who died after drinking two of them in two days is suing the company. the girl had a mild underlying heart condition the family says was aggravated by the drinks. here's our senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen with more. >> if you look at the two cans, the two 24-ounce cans that miss fournier drank one day apart, that's as much caffeine as in 14 cokes or in 13 pepsis. and this part is really important to remember. there are other stimulants in these energy drinks as well. so it's not just the caffeine,
you have all sorts of other things that would be stimulating and possibly harmful to a heart, especially if that heart is not already working as it should be. according to the food and drug administration, there have been five deaths of people who drank these monster drinks. and one person had a heart attack and didn't die. now, what's interesting is that the fda never made that information public. it's only come out as part of this lawsuit. so we asked the fda, why didn't you tell people about this? and they said because there is no established link between the drinks and the deaths. it may just be a total coincidence, and that's why they didn't reach out to the public. >> the company says it doesn't believe its drinks are tied in any way to the five deaths, but news has pushed monster stock down 10% today. and finally, the folks at apple unveiled some new gadgets today. leading the way is a smaller, thinner tablet named the ipad mini. it's designed to compete with the new $199 tablet from amazon and google, but the least expensive version of the ipad mini will sell for $329.
apple also announced a slightly updated version of the traditional ipad. and you can add both of those gadgets to my growing holiday list that you can buy for me. >> you've got a lot of those already. >> but they're outdated. >> i saw, you got one of those old school, like me, blackberries. >> you are holding oen to that blackberry. >> rimm, the future of the smartphone. >> i think they would love to hear you say that. >> well, i just said it. thank you. we're going to hear from some women voters, more women voters who know about tough races, hard knocks. how the presidential candidates can win them over. d on the sidef a cliff is the guoliang tunnel. what?! you've got to be kidding me. [ derek ] i've never seen a road like this. there's jagged rock all the way around. this is really gonna test the ats on all levels. [ derek ] this road is the most uneven surface, and it gets very narrow. magnetic ride control is going to be working hard. the shock absorbers react to the road 1,000 times a second. it keeps you firmly in control. whoa! [ male announcer ] the all-new cadillac ats.
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[ crowd cheering, mouse clicks ] [ male announcer ] get more access with a citi card. wooohooo....hahaahahaha! oh...there you go. wooohooo....hahaahahaha! i'm gonna stand up to her! no you're not. i know. you know ronny folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico sure are happy. how happy are they jimmy? happier than a witch in a broom factory. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. all of us who lived through the 2000 presidential recount knows about the state's importance. >> our latest poll shows romney holding a one-point edge of obama in florida, another toss-up state on our electoral
maps. cnn's ali velshi is in lakeland, florida, with the cnn election express. taking a round the country tour, ali. do voters in florida realize how much their vote could matter? >> reporter: yeah, kate. we've actually spoken to a number of them over the course of the last couple of days. they really do get it. 29 electoral college votes, like you said. 19 million people in florida. 4.2 million people are over the age of 60. so that's the largest over 60 population in the united states. they have particular concerns, not only about medicare and health care, about social security, but about investments. how the markets are doing and how they will do. they are skewing a little bit toward mitt romney, the younger voters in this state skewing towards barack obama. what do you do when the race is this tight? you do two things. one is you concentrate on your ground operation. who can you get out? believe it or not, i've run into a few people who are not counting on voting. that's kind of interesting. if you are inclined to vote but you're not 100% sure, the obama campaign is working really hard
to make sure that they capitalize on their ground operation, a particularly large, growing hispanic community in the neighboring area in orlando. the other thing you have to do is you've got to hit these voters with what they want to do. if you're undecided at this point, you need something other than soaring rhetoric. we talked to one whom who said she's kind of disappointed with everything she heard in the debates and in the ads. she wants frankness. listen to what she told me. >> i watched all the debates and stuff. really just frankness, someone was really frank, hey, things really stink, and not all this political safe stuff to say or nonoffensive stuff. i would rather see somebody very frank. and i think people can take it. if medicare is going, say it. just say it instead of -- you know what i mean? instead of like dancing around it. i don't like that. that really bothers me. >> reporter: and we're hearing a lot of that. people are saying, look, they think things could have been better under barack obama. they're considering giving him another chance.
they really like some of mitt romney's projections about the future and what it's going to look like in terms of deficit reduction and job creation, but they can't get the numbers to add up. but they could go his way, if they could get the numbers to add up. so it might be in the candidates' interests over the course of the next two weeks to give some of these candidates the specifics they need. that's difficult to do politically, but there are votes to be had here. and if you get them, you get all 29 votes in the state of florida. kate, wolf? >> i remember florida, florida, florida 2000. >> fondly. ali, thank you so much. >> 537 votes out of millions cast. >> ah, memories! let's go to the battleground state of iowa now, with six electoral votes up for grabs, president obama won the state back in 2008, after his iowa caucuses win launched him towards the presidential nomination. the most recent poll shows the president holding an eight-point lead in iowa, but the state remains a toss-up on our electoral map. cnn's miguel marquez is on the move in iowa, with a unique group of women voters.
>> if it's davenport, it's got to be roller derby and the adequate city rollers. scott county is just one of several battlegrounds here in america's heartland. in this one county alone, there are enough votes to turn this state blue or red. the rollers demonstrated their signature move. >> blocking in front of you. >> reporter: oh, my god! oh, and by the way -- your booty did block me. >> reporter: they're really tough. these rough and tumble midwestern women, they're also midwestern voters. >> it's all about keeping the other side from moving forward. this is a lot like politics, you realize? >> right behind you, guys? >> reporter: waitress connie heart has worked at the machine shed restaurant for 26 areas. her derby name, diamond dust. her specialty, blocking. her biggest issue, the economy. how tough has it been? >> it's been tight. it's been real tight. >> reporter: because, what, less money, higher gas --
>> less money. a lot of people don't want to go out to eat as much as they used to. >> reporter: by day, carrie decrane is a special worker helping kids with special needs. on some nights, she's lady gotcha, a jammer. that's the one that scores the points. what is important in this election? >> reporter: i want to make sure there's going to be budgeting for the people that actually need it. jobs as well. i want there to be continued job growth. >> reporter: decrane says she'll likely vote for a third party. republicans say this is like 2004, when just a few counties broke their way, giving bush a very narrow victory here. democrats argue their advantage, the low unemployment rate, now just 5.2% among the lowest in the country. this is a single machine? >> this is a single machine and it's only part of the machine. >> reporter: scott county in iowa rebounded with help from companies like genesis systems group, a manufacturer of industrial robots. increasingly its business is overseas. >> reporter: are you hiring?
>> we have done some hiring this year. i think we're up about ten people overall. but we're still about 10% lower than we were in 2007. >> reporter: scott county, an economic bright spot in the heartland, whose voters can be tough to win over. >> oh, my goodness! >> reporter: politics are rough and tumble, as i'm discovering. things are hot and heavy here in iowa. mr. obama will be out here tomorrow in davenport and then mr. romney, a few hours later, will be in cedar rapids. the polls show them within a couple of points and republicans here believe that if they can pick up a few thousand votes in places like scott and other counties, they can turn this state to their column. wolf? >> a pretty important state, iowa. miguel, thanks very, very much. >> amazing, we're talking about a few thousand votes here and there. could be so, so close. president obama says his final debate with mitt romney drove home their differences on foreign policy, but at times, romney sounded a lot like
president obama. wolf will ask romney adviser john sununu about that. and then we'll hear from obama adviser, collin calm. [ ross ] the streets of monaco, home of the legendary grand prix circuit. the perfect place to bring the all-new cadillac ats to test the 2.0-liter turbo engine. [ engine revs ] ♪ [ derek ] 272 horsepower. the lightest in its class. the cadillac ats outmatches the bmw 3 series. i cannot believe i have ended the day not scraping some red paint off on these barriers.
two weeks until election day. the candidates are unleash everything they've got to get to the finish line. >> and finish line is getting closer and closer. they're getting fuel for their attacks today from the foreign policy debate last night. we'll talk to obama campaign adviser, collin call in a few moments. right now we're joined by a top romney adviser, the former new hampshire governor, john sununu. governor, thanks for coming in. >> a pleasure to be here. happy tuesday. >> thank you. i want you to listen to the president of the united states today, hammering away at mitt
romney and his debate performance last night. >> romney's foreign policy has been wrong and reck last. you heard him last night. he was all over the map. if you say that you love american cars during a debate, you're a car guy, but you wrote an article titled "let detroit go bankrupt," you definitely have a case of romnesia. >> that article that he wrote, that op-ed, let detroit go bankrupt, if he loses ohio, it will probably be, as the president said, because one out of eight jobs in ohio is related to the auto industry. >> look, let's face facts. the president again is being dishonest. he knows that title was put on by "the new york times," not by mitt romney. and if he really read the article, he would understand that what mitt romney was proposing was a process not only in which they would go bankrupt
as, through a nongovernment initial intervention, but that they would be government support for the process after they came out of bankruptcy. the president has misrepresented that or else he's not smart enough to be able to read that article. >> as you remember, the financial sector at that time was so week, most of the investment firms, the big ones, they weren't investing. if the government wouldn't have given chrysler and general motors that money, where would that money have come through, to go through a structured bankruptcy? >> that money would have come through, if there had been a support for putting money into it, after it came out. the idea was to do it in a process that allowed this normal course to take place, rather than this huge intervention, which, in fact, in the opinion of many people, ended up spending tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas. the president keeps misstating that, but he keeps misstating a
lot of things. >> the auto industry is pretty robust right now. both chrysler and general motors. they're in business and a lot of people in michigan -- >> and so is ford. >> -- and in ohio and illinois, their pretty grateful about that. >> and so is ford that didn't go through bankruptcy. look, they may be grateful, but they also understand that the last four years has been a disaster. 23 million people unemployed and underemployed, everybody in ohio knows somebody that hasn't got a job. the fact is that this president has not produced the recovery that has any robust character to it at all. >> i don't know about you, governor, and i've known you for a long time, i was pretty surprised that romney last night on the foreign policy issues, he seemed to go out of his way to agree with the president on some of the most sensitive issues. and he certainly didn't go on the attack out of sensitive subject like libya, for example. let me play a few clips and then we'll discuss. >> i don't want to have our military involved in syria. and of course, a military action
is the last resort. when i'm president, i'll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014. i don't blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with pakistan is strained. it's widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes and i support that entirely. and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it. >> were you surprised, governor, how supportive of the president's foreign policy, of all of these sensitive issues the governor was? >> no, not really. what he did, he ticked off the things he supports, he agrees with him on, but he also ticked off the things he doesn't agree with him on. in libya, he didn't agree with the general theory of leading from behind. if we had led from the front, we would have some stronger input as to who the leadership was there. in syria, he pointed out that the president said a year ago, that assad had to go and had virtually done nothing significant in that period of
time. and he ran, he condemned the president for not supporting the green movement that took place there. and on russia, he really differed with the president, because mitt romney does feel that putin has ambitions to make the russian empire another soviet union again, and the president, in his whispering asides to medvedev said -- the words were, in essence, let me get through the selection, and i will be flexible afterwards. those are four major areas that he underscored the difference on, and those are the four major areas that have to be addressed properly, if this country is going to deal with the future. >> i was struck at the softening, though. and i've covered him over the past several years, and i definitely sensed a softening. and i wasn't the only one. my old friend, steve hayes, of the "weekly standard," he said this, he wrote a biography of dick cheney. he said, "romney was so determined to avoid sounding like george w. bush, that he spent much of the night sounding like barack obama." what do you say about that?
>> well, look, this was an opportunity for mitt romney to at least let the public understand that he doesn't have horns and a tail when it comes to foreign policy. and i think he did a great job. the proof of the pudding is that the bulk of the narratives today talk about mitt romney as presidential and barack obama as snarky. i think the governor wins on that basis alone. >> why did he not want to get into a debate with the president on the most sensitive issue right now, what happened in benghazi? >> well, there's a -- everybody knows what happened in benghazi. if he got into it, the key issue in benghazi is that the president laid constantly and misrepresented to the public, particularly -- >> why didn't romney say that? >> because that's up to people like me to use words like that. last night, he was putting a presidential side forward, and i think it was a brilliant strategy, and as people are thinking about what happened last night, i go back to the phrase i used, they're calling romney presidential and the president snarky.
that alone makes it worth it that it leaves it to folks like me to help explain what happened in benghazi. >> governor sununu, thanks for coming in, as usual. >> thank you. >> kate? next we'll get a very different take on the campaign and the final debate when we talk to obama campaign adviser, collin call. endless shrimp is our most popular promotion
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just a little while ago, the president landed on the south lawn of the white house. marine one, there you see some video that we got. out of the campaign trail today, the presidential candidates are picking up where they left off last night after their final debate. we spoke just a little while ago with a top romney campaign. >> that's absolutely right. and now we're joined by collin
call, a national security adviser to the obama campaign and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense. so let's look at this new ad from the romney campaign first. >> the president began with an apology tour of going to various nations and criticizing america. i think they look at that and saw weakness. the reason i call it an apology tour, you went to the middle east and you flew to egypt and to saudi arabia and to turkey and iraq. and you skipped israel. our closest friend in the region. >> why did he skip israel? the first four years of his administration, visited all these other neighboring countries but skipped israel. i know he was there as a candidate, but not as a president. >> just like mitt romney went there as a candidate, but mitt romney didn't go there for a fund-raiser, he went there for serious business. if you actually look back over the last 11 presidents, seven of them never traveled to israel, and two of them didn't travel there until their second term. it's not that --
>> here's what's unusual. here's what's unusual. other presidents, they may not have visited israel, ronald reagan, but he didn't go to egypt, didn't go to iraq, and skipped israel. didn't go to saudi arabia and skip israel. if you're in the neighborhood, usually, you visit israel. >> actually, of the four that traveled to the region and eventually traveled to israel, they all traveled to arab countries first. >> they went -- >> go to arab countries but they wouldn't just go to arab countries and not go to israel. >> i don't think that's true, actually. >> we can double check that. and the president last night twice said that israel is our greatest ally in the region. in "60 minutes," he said israel is one of our best allies in the region. what is it request m >> i don't think there's any question that israel is one of our closest allies. >> why didn't he say that on "60 minutes." >> he says it all the time. >> nobody else in the region gets $3 billion a year in security assistance. we stood up, the administration has, for the israelis at the u.n., repeatedly.
i mean, israeli officials all time -- last time i was on the show, you played ehud barak and president perez saying there's never been a closer relationship. this is just this myth that there's daylight between this administration and israel. >> oneisrael. >> one final question on the question of israel. i want to play this exchange from the debate last night. >> would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on israel is an attack on the united states? which, of course, is the same promise that we give to our close allies like japan. >> first of all, israel is a true friend, it is our greatest ally in the region. and if israel is attacked, america will stand with israel. i've made that clear throughout my presidency. >> some were listening very closely. many were listening very closely to that and heard that he kind of avoided answering that question. will he declare an attack on israel, is an attack on the united states? >> the united states is committed to defending israel. as we speak, there are more than
1,000 u.s. troops in israel and another couple thousand participating from europe in the largest-ever joint u.s./israeli defense exercise. >> so needs to be stated other -- >> no, what the president said, we stand with israel and if israel is attacked, we have their back. >> that's not the question, that bob schieffer asked. is an attack on israel an attack on the united states. an attack an a nato ally is an attack on the united states. is an attack on israel an attack on the united states. >> it would lead to an americans response. and what the president said last night, same thing. >> just speaking for the obama campaign, an attack on israel is an attack on the united states. >> i'll just say what the president says, if israel gets attacked -- >> you understand the nuance, the difference. >> yeah. but i'm saying -- >> you want to leave that. >> i'm saying the effect is the same. if the nato country gets attacked, we have their back. if israel gets attacked, we have their back. >> not necessarily. but go ahead. >> i want to move on if we can
to the question of afghanistan. it of course came up in last night's debate in both president obama as well as governor romney said they plan to pull troops out in 2014. many people have asked all of these insider attacks continue, and so many questions -- more concerns about insider attacks. why not pull them out sooner? if we already have this date set of 2014, why not pull them out sooner? is this time -- would a second-term president obama reassess that? >> i sent out a tweet last night that said mitt romney must have forgot his talking points on afghanistan because he just said the president's. the issue you race, these green on blue attacks is serious. afghanistan takes it seriously. and they change the way we partner with afghan security forces to try to hedge against this risk going forward. i think the president believes and apparently governor romney agrees, that we need to make sure this transition happens responsibly.
so i think the time line we've agreed to with our nato allies through 2014 does that. >> colin cowell. lots of questions. are you getting excited? >> yes. >> i can tell. exactly. >> i'm always excited. >> thank you so much. >> teaches at georgetown university. >> much smarter than i am. at the top of the hour, erin burnett "outfront" taking a close look at what's inside the obama campaign's new 20-page plan for his second term. see whether some of the claims add up. ♪ (train horn) vo: wherever our trains go, the economy comes to life. norfolk southern. one line, infinite possibilities.
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her show on the road, promoting her second season and making the most of the spotlight. here is cnn's jeanne moos. >> pick the toughest interviewee. is it dick cheney? >> so? >> reporter: is it charlie sheen? >> i am on a drug. it's called charlie sheen. >> reporter: but their child's play compared to honey boo-boo. >> let me ask you some questions -- >> oh! >> reporter: hln's dr. drew had to contend with pretend snoring. >> is it difficult to be on tv? [ snoring ] >> she's sleeping. >> reporter: but the week before, on ktla, probably wished she dozed off. ♪ >> reporter: instead of belting out song. the 7-year-old star of tlc's reality show "here comes honey boo-boo" bounced her way through the interview. she played games.
>> hang on. >> reporter: mom didn't have enough hands to stop her. ♪ whoa whoa >> reporter: honey boo-boo is on a tear. while on her latest media tour, from "extra," -- to "jimmy kimmel." >> reporter: she couldn't sit still. >> they don't know -- >> you better redneckize! >> reporter: the crowd recognized one of her favorite saying. she went from interview to interview acting up. now, a lot of people are booing, all of the attention being showered on honey boo-boo. >> i honestly think that people are doing a disservice to this child. >> reporter: sharon osbourne's family had their own reality show. >> i think 7 is way too young. >> reporter: the media grind can leave you pooped. honey boo-boo's family seems to be exceptionally loving. that didn't stop people online from posting dire predictions.
this will end badly. already been portrayed on snl. >> no one in particular! >> reporter: debuted on "south park." >> i've already had three heart attacks, girlfriend! >> reporter: and mentioned by the president. >> honey boo-boo endorsement. >> barack obama. >> that's a big relief. >> she almost swatted dr. drew. >> hi, hi. >> don't hit. >> reporter: these days, she is less honey -- [ snoring ] >> more boo-boo. >> is there something exciting you would like to talk about? >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> this programming -- we have a programming note. you can see dr. drew's full interview for yourself, later tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern on our sister network, hln. >> just so you know, that was wolf's first introduction to honey boo-boo. >> i don't know much about honey boo-boo. >> it's okay. you've learned enough, i think. >> her ratings were pretty good when she had a show opposite the president's address at the democratic convention. >> i think that tells us